Speaker says technicians benefit large animal, small animal practices

Published on November 19, 2012
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Dr. Sarah A. Wagner, while closing her presentation on the benefits of hiring veterinary technicians, shows a photo of faculty and staff of the veterinary technology program at North Dakota State University. (Photo by Greg Cima​)
Dr. Sarah A. Wagner said credentialed veterinary technicians can give educated input, take over routine work, and help clinics bring in more money.
In a presentation at the annual conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, she likened technicians to nurses and described those she has employed as thoughtful, educated, and trusted professionals. The meeting was hosted in September in Montreal.
Dr. Wagner is an associate professor at North Dakota State University, and she represents large animal practice on the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities.
Dr. Wagner cited an article in JAVMA, “Contribution of veterinary technicians to veterinary business revenue, 2007” (JAVMA 2010;236:846), which reported the normalized results of a survey of 328 veterinarians that found that the typical veterinarian’s gross revenue increased by $93,311 for each additional credentialed veterinary technician in the practice.
“How many of you have veterinary technicians?” she asked. “How many of you pay them $93,000?”
Dr. Wagner said that, after she hired a technician, her weekend work was finished at noon instead of 2 p.m., and the work had a more relaxed pace. A colleague told her his large animal practice similarly finished work about two hours earlier while seeing the same number of clients.
Although Dr. Wagner acknowledged that some veterinarians have hired technicians who did not work out well for their clinics, she questioned how many of those veterinarians married the first person they dated or replaced a receptionist or associate who did not work out.
“If the first technician that you got was not a good match for you, it doesn’t mean that a technician can’t work for you,” she said.